"He and Jack" or "Him and Jack"

edited September 2012 in - Writing Problems
I've got a sentence beginning "He and Jack were looking for just the right kind of house". Is it correct to use "He and Jack", or should it be "Him and Jack"?

Comments

  • Always consider in caseslike this what it would sound like without Jack. You wouldn't say 'him was looking' would you? So it would be 'he'. but it's a very ugly sentence like that, I'd change it anyway. They were looking. Jack and he were looking.
  • For the answer remove the words "and Jack" and change "were" to a singular verb. This gives you "He was looking ...". Definitely preferable to "Him was looking ..."!
  • You beat me by 24 seconds Liz!
  • Jack and he were looking: he and Jack sounds clumsy for no reason whatsoever other than that it does. My husband and I, not I and my husband. (If it's good enough for the Queen...)
  • A miss is as good as a mile, OG!
  • I can't help but think of this joke when I see Jack this or Jack that...


    An office manager had money problems & had to fire an employee, either Jack or Jill... He thought he'd fire the employee who came late to work the next morning. Well, both employees came to work very early.

    Then the manager thought he would catch the first one who took a coffee break. Unfortunately, neither employee took a coffee break.

    Then the manager decided to see who took the longest lunch break - strangely, neither Jack nor Jill took a lunch break that day, they both ate at their desk.

    Then the manager thought he'd wait & see who would leave work the earliest, and both employees stayed after closing.

    Jill finally went to the coat rack & the manager went up to her & said, "Jill, I have a terrible problem. I don't know whether to lay you or Jack off."

    Jill said, "Well, you'd better jack off, because I'm late for my bus."

    :D
  • [quote=Liz]Always consider in caseslike this what it would sound like without Jack. You wouldn't say 'him was looking' would you? So it would be 'he'. but it's a very ugly sentence like that, I'd change it anyway. They were looking. Jack and he were looking. [/quote]

    I agree that the sentence feels a bit ugly. The reason for structuring it that way is it's the second sentence in the story and I'm introducing a second character by name.
  • In that case it's even more important to have it elegantly phrased.
  • Would "He was looking ... with his friend Jack" work? Difficult to know without knowing the first sentence.
  • DB, are you sure this is the second sentence into the story? Sounds rather Tell Not Show for such a crucially important point in your book/story. What about some action, an immediate scene without authorial intervention.
  • This is the first two sentences:

    "Gordon enjoyed driving along country lanes in the spring when the drabness of winter had finally lost it's hold. He and Jack were looking for just the right kind of house – one with lots of privacy, shielded from prying neighbours."

    Maybe this is a better way of writing it:

    Gordon enjoyed driving along country lanes in the spring when the drabness of winter had finally lost it's hold. Along with his partner, Jack, he was looking for just the right kind of house – one with lots of privacy, shielded from prying neighbours.
  • Along with his partner Jack, he was looking...

    and winter had finally lost its hold (not it's, sorry).
  • Agreed. Because otherwise it says winter had finally lost it is (it's) hold, rather than its hold.
  • Or "it has" :-)

    Sorry, iPad won't let me quote.
  • I like your rewritten version.
  • The rewrite sounds better DB - I think you've caught it there.

    I hope you don't mind but I have a similar issue in a short story; I was going to post about it.

    "The beast paid no heed to the names whilst he could run free and slake his wild hunger - as he had for an eternity. But this woman had exhausted even he with her desires and demands."

    Word doesn't like "even he", it wants "even him" but that doesn't ring true to me. And now it's bugging me. The story has a gothic Victorian setting so the language needs to be correct.
  • It's 'him', for the same reason - take out the bit you can take out - 'this woman had exhausted him'. You wouldn't say 'this woman had exhausted he'.
  • I know that's how it should be - but it just sounds wrong. And this is a voracious demon - the 'even' is relevant. 'This woman had exhausted him' diminishes the impact of her abnormal power over such a creature.
  • [quote=paperbackwriter]and winter had finally lost its hold (not it's, sorry).[/quote]

    Yeah, I spotted that later!
  • I don't think Liz means to literally take out the 'even' but merely for the mental purpose of working out which word belongs in there, Lily. It's definitely got to be 'him'. Sounds right to me, anyway.
  • [quote=Island Girl]I don't think Liz means to literally take out the 'even' but merely for the mental purpose of working out which word belongs in there, Lily. [/quote]

    Yep. It's the easiest way to tell, take out what doesn't need to be there, and then put back the bits you want when you know which is correct.
  • Agree with all points made so far!

    Just thought I'd add my penneth . . .

    Lily, as you want to emphasise he/him, could you substitute a powerful noun instead, e.g. 'This woman had exhausted even this monstrous entity...' (sorry, I couldn't think of anything clever!)?
  • [quote=LilyC]"The beast paid no heed to the names whilst he could run free and slake his wild hunger - as he had for an eternity. But this woman had exhausted even he with her desires and demands."

    Word doesn't like "even he", it wants "even him" but that doesn't ring true to me. And now it's bugging me. The story has a gothic Victorian setting so the language needs to be correct.[/quote]

    If you wanted to use "even he", you'd have to re-jig the sentence to something like "But even he could not keep up with this woman's desires and demands." "Keep up" is very weak phrasing but it's all I could come up with off the top of my head.

    Incidentally, "slake" is usually only applied to thirst. You can sate hunger, or satisfy it, or even satiate it, but slake doesn't quite fit.
  • But isn't he drinking blood? i thought that's why Lily used it?
  • DB, I'm convinced your book would burst onto the page better with an active scene instead of narrating/describing about what the two guys wanted. SHOW them wanting it. This is crying out for a dialogue opening between the two of them as they drive along, preferably with disagreement/conflict, and starting the main crux of the plot. Something in that first paragraph needs to launch towards the heart of the story. I can't help you with what, because I don't know the plot.
  • edited September 2012
    [quote= Dwight]DB, I'm convinced your book would burst onto the page better with an active scene instead of narrating/describing about what the two guys wanted. SHOW them wanting it.[/quote]

    Thanks for the suggestion, it's actually a short story and the whole first paragraph is:

    "Gordon enjoyed driving along country lanes in the spring when the drabness of winter had finally lost it's hold. Along with his partner, Jack, he was looking for just the right kind of house – one with lots of privacy, shielded from prying neighbours. They had a cover story, but the fewer people who saw them going into a house the better. Neither of them wanted to do time in prison again."

    I can't tell you any more about the story than that!
  • [quote=Liz]But isn't he drinking blood? i thought that's why Lily used it?[/quote]

    No, sex. So his hunger is a desire to be allayed. Perhaps 'satiate' might be a better word. BTW, the drinking of blood, and other fluids, comes later :-)

    All points taken on board - thank you; really appreciate it. I shall completely rewrite that paragraph. Cheers!
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